After Lil' General crossed the 1 year milestone, his Paediatrician prescribed a multivitamin tonic called "Calron" for 6 months. Dosage is 5 ml every morning until 18 months of age. He was prescribed "Orofer" (Iron drops) early from 6 months until 12 months. I am such a slacker when it comes to giving these vitamin drops - somehow it just doesn't fit into the routine properly and I miss giving it to him. The Paed stressed in my last visit too that it is important to be given; I just have to keep a reminder or alter my schedule a bit so that he doesn't skip out on this. The whole issue is like every child he hates the sight of tablets/tonics etc and if precedes or follows his breakfast within 30 minutes there is a risk of puking. That's no excuse anyway..what's to be done has to be done.

Do you give any vitamin drops for your toddler? Some others I've heard of are Macalvit and Prolong (to improve immunity against cold and such).

Related link:
Vitamin drops for a toddler

Monday, March 17, 2008

How do I keep my baby cool in summer?

With the temperature steadily rising everyday, the heat is getting to us - more so to Lil' General. It's just the beginning of summer with 3 months to go. Loss of appetite, increasing liquid intake, sudden onset of summer and general uneasiness because of the heat has made him restless.

These are some of the things that has helped him:


  1. Lots of fruits such as Water Melon, Grapes, Musk Melon, Pomegranates, Apples, Bananas and just about everything. I don't mind his carbohydrate intake going down. It gets more than compensated with fruits.

  2. One tender coconut atleast everyday. A cup of butter milk or yoghurt and plenty of water so as not to get dehydrated.

  3. Lesser intake of carbohydrates in the form of rice and foods that are difficult to digest such as rotis. I've decreased the quantity of processed and spicy food too.

  4. Salads - small portions of whatever we have such as cucumber, carrots, radish, tomatoes etc.

  5. Lastly, the most important one that his Paed advised me - DO NOT force them to have food. They won't go to bed hungry. If they feel like eating, they will. I know this is probably the toughest one and I can never convince myself to let him sleep without eating anything. Of late, I've started doing that and it sure helps me and him for he comes back hungry later and finishes his plate in a sitting.


  1. Socks look good but it is uncomfortable to kids in this weather. I'm surprised seeing some kids in the park wearing those heavy duty cute looking socks. Gosh! their feet need some air. He hasn't started walking yet, so it's barefoot for LG. Looks don't figure in our list of priorities, comfort comes first.

  2. Only sleeveless or half sleeve cotton t-shirts and shorts. No long pants and full sleeve and fancy hats.

  3. At home it's a simple cotton vest.

  4. I let him play in water in intervals - it makes him happy.

  5. Bathe him before it gets too hot in the morning. I'm trying to get into a routine for bathing him twice a day. This would help them sleep better at nights.

This past week has been exhausting with the sudden onset of summer. The heat is getting to us and LG has been behaving weird ever since. The number of time he naps during the day has been swinging from 1 to 3. Some days he sleeps 2 times for 2 hours each and some days just for an hour through the day consequently being cranky all day. His appetite has also gone down drastically and he went with little food and milk for 2 days in a row. Usually a active child, we often found him sitting in one place or crawling back to his bed and lying with his pillow - we suspected a lack of energy which was kinda obvious. I finally took him to the Paediatrician to rule out any side effects of his falling off the bed. The Doc reassured it was just the heat and that I should keep him in the company of kids and not force him to eat anything.

I took him to the park this evening; it's hard to believe but that worked wonders. He found many kids his age and was happy to bond with a little older girl. He came back home happy, had his bowl of cereal and went to sleep soon after cheerfully.

For those of us who don't have the resources, energy and enthusiasm to prepare a home-made porridge for our babies, products like Manna come to our rescue. I've been using this porridge ever since Lil' General was 6 months old and I totally vouch for it. It's filling, nutritious and has all the contents that are good for a baby's all-round development. There are a number of off the shelf products available but none that I found in Pune. So I just buy six month's worth stock of Manna on my visits to Trichy.

If you would like to do it yourself, here are the ingredients in Manna - I'm not sure of the quantity of each.

Fried Gram
Green Gram
Soya Bean
Sago (Sabu dana)
Cashew nut
Badam (Almonds)

It tastes yummy and 240 ml of this porridge can easily last for 2 hours. This comes in 2 forms - either you can buy the powdered version or just buy the roasted one and then grind it yourself as and when needed. I prefer the powdered version.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Diet for a 15th month old

At this age, according to Dr. Spock diet changes so rapidly that it is hard to figure what toddlers like and dislike. This week they maybe feasting on a dish which could be a complete turn off the next. I've had enough experience of this and it couldn't have been better put. I'm constantly experimenting with LG's diet and routine as to what he is most likely to eat and what would upset the entire day. Sometimes it's a struggle and sometimes it's a breeze. It's hard to tell but what I've figured is it's alright if he doesn't eat his due share one day or for even two consecutive days. It all gets accounted for over a few days. And one rule of thumb : if he is hungry he'll eat. There are exceptions however : sometimes he's hungry but something else needs his attention and he cant afford to waste those moments tied up in a chair eating his food, can he? These are times when I have to put him down and force him to finish.

Diet for this month - so far:

6:00 a.m. - 150 ml for formula
8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. - Banana milk shake or apple juice, sabudana khichdi
11:00 a.m. - 125 ml of Tender coconut
12:30 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. - Lunch - rice dal with vegetables, curd, roti
4:30 p.m. - Porridge
7:00 p.m. - a small serving of fruit
8:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. - cereal, cheese slice or just fruits
11:00 p.m. - 150 ml of milk

What's the one thing that changes for a woman when she gets pregnant? No second guess!
The damn wardrobe and her accessories with the baby's arrival.

My son is almost 15 months old and my wardrobe still comprises of clothes that are either too big for me or ones that require me to stand on my head to fit in with little luck. That's for another post. The thing that bothers me now is the cutesy flowery baby bag that I carry along on all my outings : to the mall, restaurant, friend's place and just about everywhere. I became increasingly conscious of it at a few days back at the airport by the stares I got. For one, Lil' General has grown up from his newborn days and doesn't require me to carry dozens of diapers, tens of bottles and spare dresses. The young man is quite capable of handling himself well for a 3 hour journey. That's when it dawned that the problem lies with me, I did not grow up while he was; I still see him as that newborn who had not bladder control and met Winnie Aunty (potty) ten times a day.

That's not to say I don't need to carry any of his stuff during long travel or short outings: I do. But I can give up on the baby stuff and diaper bags and carry something that's more adult-like, woman-like with the same compartments that can hold a bottle, a diaper or two, one or two food containers, a spare dress, wet wipes for emergency, my purse and a pack of tissues. All I need is a smart diaper bag that doesn't look like one. And guess what I've been hunting for one with no success for the past month or so. Meanwhile, the stares continue! If only the one that Angelina Jolie flaunts were affordable....

Now that it's long over, I can talk about it. Statistics show that about forty to seventy percent of women giving birth will suffer from a mild form of postpartum moodiness called "the baby blues". Some women are knowledgeable and understand it; some don't realize.

Around the same time last year when my son was a little over 2 months old, I think I felt my mood swings for the first time. I had no idea why I was feeling so down and low for days on end when everything was going great. My son and I were at my parent's from the day he was born until he turned 4 months old. With a great support system - mom being around all the time, a maid to take care of the newborn's laundry and another lady coming in two times a day to cook for us, everything was just perfect. All I had to do was take care of myself and the baby. We had a lot of people coming in and going on and off since the time LG was born until he was 5 weeks old which was a great help to run usual errands and attending to emergencies like getting tablets
for the baby in the middle of the night.

Then, everyone left and it was just mom and I from the fifth week onwards. There was a vacuum. In retrospect, I think this was the most difficult period from the second month until fourth month when mom took seriously ill and again in the sixth month when I was pretty much on my own. Strangely enough, these periods also coincided with being LG quite difficult - he was a colicky baby during this second and third month which meant incessant crying and non-stop feeding. Sleep deprivation, physical tiredness and the drudgery of doing the same thing day after day had started taking its toll on me. And for the first time when I was up on my feet with no work to do but the monotonous routine of taking care of the baby hit me real hard. Even after I quit my job, I worked from home on a few freelancing assignments until delivery that kept me busy. Now suddenly I found myself low on self esteem, confidence and a general sadness all through the day no matter what I tried to do differently. The initial excitement of the arrival of the baby had gone by now. With just mom and I at
home and no more adult company, it was all too silent. My tempers flared too often at the smallest of things like when the doorbell /phone rang at odd hours or the TV volume was loud enough to wake the baby who I had just put to sleep after trying for 2 hours; this lead to a lot of stress. I just grew tired of trying to feed him endlessly to make him stop the crying; I knew there was sufficient to feed the baby but people around me kept saying all the time there wasn't enough though his weight gain showed otherwise. I wanted to feed him and not switch over to formula so I tried everything from hand pumping, sterilizing and then feeding him until I got hurt because of the repeated feeds. It was overwhelming to hear people say they've reared ids and it's not a never-done-job before to feel so exhausted and pressurized. This further upset me making me feel it was just me who wasn't being a good mother. The Seniol would visit us for a weekend every month. With everything working well, I thought it must be something else and that's when I found out about PPD and started reading. Once I knew it was the hormones, I stopped blaming myself less and started being positive.

Things started getting better as I went out in evenings for a walk with the baby in sling to get some fresh air, took a break and went to visit my grand parents', started learning how to cook new dishes, some soothing music every morning, saw how blessed I was to have mom around all the time and kept reminding myself that this too shall pass. I felt better in a few week's time. There were short spans right through the first nine months when I would feel depressed. I can distinctly remember a day when I told my mom over the phone that the day was so long and tough that I just felt like jumping off the window. But never in these months' since LG was born have I had even one fleeting moment of hurting him ever.

Parenting is just another career with ups and downs. You never score a 10 on 10. My husband often reminds me that it is a 24 hour job which is more demanding than any 9 to 6 job. There are easy periods and then difficult ones. If we can put with a crazy manager so can we with a child who is cranky at times! And we just get better and better as days pass. Experience, they say and I cherish it now.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Pregnancy - planned or by accident?

Ever heard one of your friends smile sheepishly announcing their pregnancy as "by accident"? I've listened to the "by accident" version numerous times from various people, in some instances from the same person for all pregnancies.

Before I proceed any further, common sense dictates that I start this post with a caveat - this post does not have any intended reference to my friends or acquaintances or their circumstances!

And I've always wondered, "Wow! How is an accident possible so many times?" Unable to control my curiosity I've even questioned them what exactly does this accident entail. No points for guessing. Most often, I was promised with an explanation when they met in person or a shy grin. I know! Who asks such embarrassing questions?

I've grown up since and understood that unplanned pregnancies are referred by people as "accident" for lack of a better term. Who would deny anything that comes as a surprise brings with it an element of excitement! But I'm not so sure about pregnancies. There's a lot at stake here if both the partners are employed, the woman is career-oriented and definitely didn't wish for a baby at that point in her life or had planned to postpone it by a few years because her biological clock wasn't ticking yet!

In my opinion, planning pays off where pregnancies are concerned. Factors such as where you would want to deliver your child, the support system during and post pregnancy, financial aspects, if you want to get back to work or be with the child in which case an alternate career option and most importantly being mentally prepared take some thinking. I believe being mentally prepared ranks first as there is no learning curve in a child's birth process and all things unexpected can happen any time. It calls for an adjustment in lifestyles, understanding between the husband and wife, sharing of household work or hiring a maid to reduce the burden and caring for each other. And, in the case of an unplanned pregnancy you just don't have the time to take in the news and readjust yourself. It just happens so suddenly! It's worse when you've just been married a few months.

I've seen women getting depressed because they had to leave their jobs for a while or she wasn't sure she really wanted a second kid at this stage in life with the first one barely two years old and the lack of a support system to carry on both. The added burden of making a decision whether or not to have the second child conceived brings with it another tension and the guilt of aborting, so most women decide to go with the flow.

So, this gets us back to the basic question - why act in haste and be unprepared or unplanned! You don't have to be cautious every moment of your life but this one is definitely worth every moment's precaution.

Ofcourse, no planning is enough as in my case. I thought we had it all figured out when we started planning two years in advance for our child on when to move back to India, settle down in my job and Bangalore for a few months and then go on maternity leave. But life had other plans and I decided to change my job that provided a work-from-home option. So plans for having a child got postponed by a few months giving me the window to settle in my new job. Just as I was getting adjusted came another surprise for which I was least prepared - moving to another city and another job which meant the baby had to wait for another 6 months. Move to another city, new job, the long commute, yet another new job that I wasn't happy with when I decided that this career stuff could just go on and on with no end in sight. That is when we made up our mind and put forth a plan - a plan to set aside all I earned as savings and sound investments for the next 12 months until the baby was due when I would eventually quit. In hindsight, that plan worked out wonderfully for us in all aspects.

With Lil' General having crossed the 1 year milestone, I don't rack my brains hard any more as to what to feed him and what not. He has small portions of all that we have at home with the exception of foods that are very spicy or sour in taste. I try and maintain a routine as far as his eating goes too which kinda helps him and me in preparing his food and appetite better.

His current schedule and diet goes this way (it's been this way for over 8 weeks now):

5:30 a.m. - 6:00 a.m. - 150 ml of Formula (NaN-2)

8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. - Breakfast which is 1-2 idlis or 7 scoops of baby cereal or banana or sabudana khichdi. A glass of milk.

10:00 a.m. - If he wasn't up to having breakfast for whatever reason, then he is more than happy to munch on some fruit which is usually grapes. I slice the grapes and place it in front of him in a bowl - he eats at his pace ensuring to finish the same.

12:30 - 1:15 p.m. - Lunch - Rice with dal (mashed or as sambhar) and some vegetable like tomato, carrot, beans, snakegourd, beetroot, white and red pumpkin, cucumber etc.

2:30 p.m. on some days - a cup of yoghurt

4:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. - 240 ml of Porridge mostly or 150 ml of Apple Juice

6:30 p.m. - A fruit such as cheeku, apple etc.

8:30 p.m. - Dinner - Rotis in milk or dal. I interchange lunch and dinner recipes frequently based on what we eat.

11:30 p.m. - 125 ml of milk.

Cheese slices doesn't suit him much yet. but I'm not averse to trying anything new. Almost everything that we have, he has a bite.

I get a clear indication if he isn't feeling well. If he refuses to eat, I usually don't force him as it is a sign something is bothering him or he just isn't hungry yet. Expecting a 14 month old to eat as much as he did when he was 6-7 months I learnt is expecting way too much. So I've stopped forcing him or bothering him with food all the time. He lets me know if he is hungry or sleepy making the eating process easier and shorter for him and me.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Everyone is a akka!

Mom and I went shopping to a sari shop that sell Kancheevaram silk saris. It is a demanding task to hold a toddler in the crawling stage when all he wants to do every waking minute is to crawl. Add to that a new place with lots of opportunity for destruction and exploration. He wanted to go and play with the lighted lamp, go over to the sari counter, pull the drawer when I finally gave up and told mom I would wait out until she finished. The sales girls gave a big grin to LG and told him to sit tight in my lap sternly just to see if he would oblige. "Akka, akka", he went. And were we surprised? Mom and I thought it was just some random thing he blurted out. But he was unstoppable for the next 5 mins and it was an unmistakable "akka". He only stopped after one of the girls held him on her shoulder and walked out. So I guess that's the first sane word he has said after "bow, bow, bow".

I wonder where he picked up akka because I don't recollect ever using it. Everyone at home is a akka now irrespective of gender, age etc.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Guilt : A mother's constant companion

LG hurt himself again for the second time in one week by falling off the sofa this time. And, I am quick to blame myself for all that he does or doesn't. I'm not too worried about his milestones such as sitting up late at 8.5 months or not walking by himself even at 14 months and barely able to speak a few words. What bothers me is not doing enough to make the house totally child-proof!

I wonder at times if I'm reacting too much..after all hurting yourself is part of growing up. Sure, it is. But, I'm constantly reminded that toppling over and hitting the head on the floor can't be good for anybody. And, he has managed to do that in quick succession; all it took was a moment of recklessness on my part and not able to foresee what was coming. In the first instance, he climbed over the bed by himself and was playing next to me when he dropped a pen. He bent down to pick it and before I could react his head banged the floor. In the second incident, I turned around to pick his clothes to change him for the evening walk. He climbed over the sofa and slipped over and fell backwards. He is cautious most of the times, careful about getting down with feet first - be it a half-foot high platform or 2 foot high bed.

My neighbor commented that he seemed a little dull after the first falling off episode. An active child otherwise who is quick to goto others and calls strangers on the road from the balcony as he watches traffic go by. He was a little resigned after the first incident even after 3-4 days, so she suggested I show him to the Doc. Doubt is a evil thing; I didn't want to lose my sleep that night and bug The Seniol too in the process imagining things that were obviously not true. Abandoning our evening walk routine, I took him to the Paed who examined him and said there was nothing to worry about. Proper response from the limbs, arms, no body part turning blue, no excessive crying and no vomiting after a falling episode are some signs that indicate the kid is fine. I was relieved and when he repeated the same thing the next day, I felt like an idiot. My mom taught him how to get off high raised places by getting on his tummy and placing foot down first while still holding on tightly to some sort of support with his hands. He quickly mastered the art and there were no accidents until this week.

I'm constantly asked by neighbors and friends what I was doing without keeping an eye on him. Family never questions me but advise me on what I could do to handle and engage him better. People who have been around LG understand what it takes to handle him single-handedly through the day. He doesn't do anything out-of-the-ordinary or is a very hyperactive child. Does what kids his age at 14 months do I guess - like climbing on the windows, falling inside his carton of toys, pulling out all utensils from the kitchen racks ten times a day, toppling a bucket of water, throwing his basket of folded clothes, picking up teeny-weeny things off the floor and putting in his mouth which are other visible to the human eye etc etc. I've considered having some sort of energy drink to match his :) Anyway, people who question me or pass sly remarks hint isn't that what I am expected to do as a stay-at-home - keeping a watch. Is it too much to ask of a mother to constantly supervise a toddler whose curiosity is at its highest? Which in simple terms means not a minute of looking away while he is awake. I feel guilty too every time LG hurts himself or gets bored. People suggest stuff such as to get a full-time part-time maid to increase the interaction levels of LG or play with him. I'm not against the idea and I've tried that in the past. The first half-hour or one is when they are able to keep him entertained after which he required momma's company. I'm not ruling out that option for a hired help again, but I just don't want to depend on that totally.

Parenting is not easy and I'm coming to terms with the fact that you can't prevent everything. I can only do so much and be careful the next time. I know I'm giving it all I can - playing with him while he is awake, a walk every evening, no TV, let him do stuff on his won too with his box of toys, watching people/animals/traffic from the balcony. Feeling guilty is not going to help me any better. I'm constantly evaluating my role as a good mother and parenting principles. It doesn't matter what others think so long as LG stays happy - the way he is now.